Our days in Malaysia have mostly consisted of an identical pattern: eating, working, walking, eating, working, walking – in other words, just what we had planned to do. Malaysia is unlike any other country, more multi-cultural than you can imagine, and the people are incredibly friendly – it was the perfect place to settle down for a couple of weeks to work and relax. Our next stop is Singapore, a place we’ve never been to before and are really excited to explore. BUT the bigger news is that next Tuesday (after spending a week in Singapore), we’ll be embarking on a train journey in what is perhaps the most romantic, and definitely the most luxurious way to see South East Asia – with the Eastern & Oriental Express.
This epic train journey will take us through the dense rain forests, wide open orchards and remote towns with the comfort and luxury of a five star hotel. It will be a three day trip from Singapore to Bangkok, with daily excursions along the way. The Eastern & Oriental Express is a luxury train (with 3-day tickets starting from 2,400US per person) a world away from the usual trains that run along this route: pure indulgence in luxury and comfort – the perfect match to the famous quote:
“It’s all about the journey, not the destination”.
This is the ideal train journey for travelers who enjoy the comfort of luxury resorts, but want to explore more of the country they visit than just sitting by the beach. The Eastern & Oriental Express route was created in 1992 by the same people who operate the Simplon Orient Express. They bought the Japanese made coaches that served the Auckland – Wellington route in 1972-1979. The exterior is the same, but internally the coaches have been completely rebuilt inside to top luxury standards, with en suite sleeping compartments, two dining cars, piano bar car, observation car, observation car lounge and a saloon & reading room car.
The different Orient Express trains that have been operating around the world for centuries awake mythical tales and stories of murder and mystery, spies such as exotic ‘artiste’ Mata Hari and Robert Baden Powell, a French president who “fell off the train”, and more. Novels like Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” have shaped this idea of exotic mystery, and while some of these tales are probably less true than others, we look forward to find out what stories await us on our own journey. While we will be offline during our trip, we’ll tell you all about it when we get back to “real life” again on arrival in Bangkok.
(photo credit: 1)
Eastern & Oriental Express – The Photo Essay
The best way to describe what the Eastern & Oriental Express was really like is to simply show you – after all, don’t they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Below we have put together a photo essay to showcase the best of our train trip (you will even see us dressed to the max in a suit & evening dress :P) – also if you would like to read more about the train and our personal journey – you can click here.
The observation car was one of our favorite things about the E&O – located at the very end of the train, you could enjoy the landscape sweeping past, slowly changing as you traveled from the south in Singapore all the way up north to Bangkok. Those getting up early to watch the sunrise through the mist were served hot tea, which added a nice touch to the colonial ambience of the car.
Our conversations during lunch were always interrupted by one of us going “hey – look at that!” pointing out the window, seeing something odd, funny or amazing. Like Agatha Christie says: Trains are wonderful… to travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns… and rivers, in fact, to see life.
This journey was all about relaxing, indulging and enjoying yourself. After all the extra hassle that comes with planning your own travels, it was really nice to have a break and just sit back and relax letting the exceptional and friendly staff take care of everything for you, from the excursions to the wonderful food.
When darkness fell outside the window, the train got even brighter and livelier inside – men dressed up in tuxedos and a tie, women putting on their evening dresses and glimmering jewels, and the piano bar full of people mingling after dinner with a glass of wine or two.
And finally, the food – those who know me are well aware that I have a SERIOUS sweet tooth, so as you can see I was very spoiled with all the beautiful desserts and sweets served on the train.